According to a recent statement from U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, deploying U.S. troops to Eastern Europe to counter Russia’s actions could be an option. Speaking to the press, the NATO’s top military commander in Europe said that he would not “write off involvement by any nation, to include the United States.”
This news comes alongside a bill which has been introduced by the House Armed Services Committee, which suggests that the U.S. should provide advice and assistance with technical matters to Ukraine. Senator John McCain has even stated that the U.S. should supply the country with weapons.
All of this has come about after growing tension in Eastern Europe over the last few months. Crimea, a small section of Ukraine, is home to thousands of people who consider themselves to be Russian. There have been votes and protests by these people, but the Ukrainian government saw this as a threat to their authority. At that point, Vladamir Putin stepped in, on the grounds that he needed to protect the Russian people who live there.
Virtually everything that has happened in Eastern Europe so far, from the referendum to Russia’s involvement, has been deemed either illegal or against international law, hence the possible involvement of international troops. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has spoken out, warning Russia that it would be making a “historic mistake” by provoking further tension in the area.
“Essentially what we are looking at is a package of land, air and maritime measures that would build assurance for our easternmost allies. I’m tasked to deliver this by next week. I fully intend to deliver it early.” Breedlove
Breedlove is putting together a plan of action which should be ready next week. At the moment, it is still hard to ascertain Russia’s intentions, as reports suggest that they have mobilized some 40,000 troops near the border with Ukraine, although Russia’s Foreign Ministry has stated that this is “no reason for concern.” However, it makes America’s job difficult, as it’s almost impossible to tell what will happen. If Russia does act unpredictably, will the U.S. be ready?
If U.S. troops are deployed to assist Ukraine or other bordering NATO states, what does this mean for America? At a time when the U.S. is preparing to withdraw its military presence from Afghanistan over the coming months, there are question marks over whether the U.S. will – or should – establish its presence elsewhere.
It is no secret that relations between the U.S. and Russia have been strained in the past. With memories of the Cold War still fairly fresh, it is doubtful whether the American people will be supportive of the U.S. military’s involvement in Eastern Europe. Times have changed, and Russia can no longer match America’s power, so it is unlikely that any kind of large scale tension will erupt as it did before. However, the fact remains that Russia controls much of the Western world’s energy supplies, so the U.S. – and others – may have to start looking elsewhere to reduce their reliance on the post-Soviet state.
These are some of the biggest, most powerful countries in the world which we’re talking about. Whatever happens, it’s not going to be swept under the carpet, kept out of the media and ignored. At this point, all we can do is sit back and hope that nothing becomes too serious. If news breaks that U.S. troops will be deployed, hopefully their presence will be all that’s needed to douse the flames of conflict before they ignite.